“Deathbed” [Joshua Williamson/Vertigo/152pgs] is the kind of story that Baron Munchausen would be proud of. It is ludicrous in the best possible way because it examines the notion of self in a completely self-indulgent way with a protagonist that is just out of control in the most interestingly possible ways. Antonio Luna has a perception of his life story that is permeated on what he believes is truth and not necessarily the experiences of the people his path has crossed with. The gestation of the story is based on Luna bringing in a slightly washed up writer (Valentine) with one great book to her name to write his story. It ends up being just a ruse to bring his enemies back into the open and have a last big hurrah. The situations that Luna brings himself to including a lost lover, a cult he founded and even the aspect of truth pools guarded by murderous women and jellyfish are just part of the shenanigans, The art is florid and fast paced but also definitely R rated in its perceptions. As a balance, Lobo, another DC stalwart, would be proud. Luna is an accessible character because you see all his failings even as you are along for the ride. Valentime, the writer, in her own special way, is a foil that is not a romantic interest, simply more of a wary chorus to Luna’s Hamlet (which is more spot on than you might think) heading down his path. The resolution also paints to that sense of self in an existential way that gives the piece a definite sting and pertinence. It is a fun ride.
By Tim Wassberg